Dental Hygiene & Gum Disease

Did you know that you can now visit the Hygienist without seeing one of our dentists first?

We all love that fresh, clean feeling on our teeth just after we have visited the hygienist but having clean teeth and healthy gums is important for your health and well being too. As well as stained, unsightly teeth and bad breath – gum disease is also linked to:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes

What causes gum disease?

Gum disease is your body’s reaction to the bacteria in plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up on your teeth if you do not brush them. If you do not remove the plaque it will irritate the gums causing bleeding, soreness and swelling. This is known as gingivitis.
If the plaque is left in place it will calcify and become hard and you will not be able to brush it off yourself. It is known as tartar or calculus. If the tartar is left in place the gum disease will further develop into periodontitis which can lead to painful gum infections, loss of bone around the teeth, loose teeth and ultimately the loss of teeth. The tartar also creates a rough surface which is more difficult to clean and tartar cannot be brushed off and needs to be removed by the hygienist.

The role of the Hygienist

The Hygienist is there to help you look after your teeth and gums. Obviously, you have the biggest influence on looking after your teeth as you are brushing them twice a day. However, the hygienist can help you with techniques, advice on cleaning aids and show you any areas that need more attention, as well as cleaning your teeth.
Some people have an increased susceptibility to gum disease and may require appointments more regularly than every six months, but our hygienists can advise on that as well.
If you have let things go a bit, you may require a more intensive session of periodontal therapy. Our team will guide you through the process and work out a plan especially designed to look after you and your dental health.

What is a periodontal pocket?

A periodontal pocket is where the cuff of gum opens up around the tooth and creates a space or opening. The pocket can then fill with bacteria which leads to inflammation and infection. A pocket is obviously more difficult to keep clean and is an ideal area for plaque to gather and subsequently tartar. Hence the need for it to be professionally cleaned out by the hygienist.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

  • Swelling of the gums – inflammation
  • Bright red or purplish gums
  • Bleeding after brushing
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Changes in the way teeth fit together
  • Teeth mobility

What are the risk factors for gum disease?

  • Poor Oral Hygiene
  • Diet
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Age
  • Family History
  • Hormonal changes
  • Stress

How does smoking affect gum disease?

Smoking is particularly bad for your gums as amongst other things it inhibits blood flow to the tissues surrounding the teeth. This means that the protective antibodies in the blood are reduced and that also the warning sign of bleeding gums can be hidden if you are a smoker.

Diabetes and Oral Health

Patients suffering from Diabetes, especially poorly controlled Diabetes, have a much higher risk of Periodontal disease and developing infections of the mouth.
Periodontal disease in a diabetic patient will be more severe than a non-diabetic patient and subsequently treatment will be more difficult. However, well-controlled diabetics can be treated predictably and expect a significant improvement in oral health.

Standard Scale & Polish Appointment £72

This is designed for routine maintenance of a healthy mouth & consists of:

  • Review condition of gums
  • Full mouth scale & polish
  • Plaque & tartar removal above & below the gum line
  • Oral hygiene instruction

Extended Scale & Polish Appointment £108

This is designed for patients who are particularly prone to tartar build up or staining.  You may also require an extended visit if you have let things slip and have not had your teeth cleaned for a long time.  If you have ongoing periodontal issues, you may also require a longer appointment to keep on top of your oral healthcare.

  • Review condition of mouth
  • Full mouth scale & polish
  • Plaque & tartar removal above & below the gum line
  • Oral hygiene instruction

Periodontal Assessment £150

This is designed for people with periodontal disease in order to fully assess their mouth and the condition of their gums and work how best to help them

  • Review dental & medical history
  • Assessment of teeth and gums
  • Pocket charting (where appropriate)
  • Oral Health Instruction
  • Treatment Planning
  • Referral for X-rays (where appropriate)

Periodontal Treatment £225

The treatment is very much tailored to the individual patient & sometimes involves doing one area of the mouth at any one time but may include:

  • Deep cleaning & disinfection of all periodontal pockets.
  • Medication & flushing of pockets.
  • Removal of plaque and tartar in the area of the mouth being treated.
  • Use of local anaesthetic (where appropriate).


I was worried because my gums were bleeding but after having my teeth cleaned and been shown how to look after them properly, that is no longer a problem. Thank you to Dr Harding and her lovely nurse.


Simply the best oral hygiene appointment I have ever had and I thought my previous hygienist was good!


I was referred to Dr Harding by my dentist because I had sore gums. The treatment I received together with the detailed personalized oral hygiene plan made a real difference to my mouth and my gums are now comfortable and feel healthy again. Thank you Dr Harding.